Comparing This Decade’s Market Performance to Recent Best


You did well by your investments these past 12 months (hopefully), and at least matched the 20% rise that the Dow Jones industrial average enjoyed in 2019.

Over the long haul—the past decade—you (again, hopefully) did even better. Adjusting for risk, you chalked up the best returns since the 1950s. Bloomberg crunched some numbers using the Sharpe ratio, which tracks stock performance relative to Treasuries and the volatility that investors experience, and determined that returns were outstanding given how little they cost in terms of volatility.

The Dow went up 170% between the end of 2009 and the end of 2019. Helpfully, there was a not a single bear market during that time that would have forced you to rebuild your portfolio (there were six corrections).

We looked back to 1919 and saw that the best 10-year period for your money was 1989-99, when the Dow jumped 317%. The second-best period was just the previous decade, when it rose 228%.

Through all those decades, the Dow has ended in the red just twice. From 1929 to 1939 it shed 40%. And from 1999 to 2009 it lost 9.3%.

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